TAMPA — As Aaron Judge’s contract saga goes on, the outfielder has stated repeatedly that he needs to stay a Yankee for the rest of his profession — however he’s additionally touched on the fact that if he hits free company, there are many different groups that may like to have him.
It’s a chance his teammates don’t wish to envision.
“I can’t imagine him anywhere else,” DJ LeMahieu stated this week. “I don’t think anyone could. I don’t want to even think about it.”
Judge generally is a free agent after this season. Because of the MLB lockout that prevented offseason enterprise being performed for greater than three months, arbitration numbers had been solely exchanged just lately and the Yankees and Judge couldn’t focus on an extension — or anything — till the work stoppage ended.
The Yankees’ precedence then turned filling out this yr’s roster and so they settled on one-year offers with their different 11 arbitration-eligible gamers.
That leaves Judge, who will get an extension supply earlier than Opening Day, in keeping with common supervisor Brian Cashman, who was heeding Judge’s self-imposed deadline. Judge has stated he didn’t wish to cope with the distraction of a negotiation as soon as the season began.
Judge later backed off a bit on that deadline, however either side would clearly want a decision sooner somewhat than later.
“I don’t think it would impact him, but when you’re in contract talks, you definitely don’t want it to drag into the season,’’ Aaron Hicks said. “You want to focus on the season, which is why I think it’s so important for him to want to get it done. It eases your mind and you’re at peace with whatever happens. You kind of have a resolution. The longer it lingers, it can make it tough to play. I hope they come up with something soon and he’s a Yankee for the rest of his career.”
LeMahieu was in a position to strike a brand new deal in free company throughout the earlier offseason. And Hicks averted free company fully by signing a seven-year, $70 million extension — after agreeing to a one-year deal in arbitration — previous to the 2019 season.
“For some people, free agency is a great experience,’’ Hicks said. “And for some people, it’s not. Having to go another year [before hitting the market], worrying about your health and all the other things that come into play, it could make you play a little safer.”
Like LeMahieu, Hicks hopes it doesn’t come to that with Judge.
“I hope he never goes anywhere,’’ Hicks said. “That’s not what anyone wants. He came here right from Fresno State and stepped right into a Yankee uniform. That’s where he belongs. He’s great for this team.”
Judge turns 30 subsequent month and is anticipated to need no less than a six- or seven-year deal, value north of $200 million.
He’s coming off his greatest and healthiest season since he was a rookie in 2017.
In that point, he’s been the Yankees’ largest star.
“Over the last couple of years, he’s definitely become the leader of this team,’’ Kyle Higashioka said. “It definitely would not be the same without him, but the front office gets paid to do what they do. There’s not much me or anyone else can do to change that.”
If the strain of the discussions are attending to Judge, he’s not displaying it, in keeping with Higashioka.
“Talking to him casually day-to-day, I can’t see anything affecting him. He seems normal,” Higashioka stated. “He’s actually good about that, too. He’s actually mentally robust. … You want that in baseball.’’